As Colorado’s October snow rolls in, the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) prepares to kick-off the 2019-20 season with expanded eligibility criteria for individuals and families needing heating assistance. Enrollment for the 2019-2020 program starts November 1 and continues through April 30, 2020.

“We are grateful that a larger number of individuals, seniors and families will be able to take advantage of this program,” said Theresa Kullen, LEAP manager. “These new eligibility levels and our online process will make it even easier to access assistance this year.”

Colorado residents with an annual income up to 60 percent of the State Median Income may qualify for heating assistance through LEAP. The new guidelines have increased over last year’s household income threshold with individuals not exceeding $2371/month and a family of four, $4561/month.

Applications can be accessed through LEAP’s website at www.colorado.gov/cdhs/LEAP, which also links to the state’s CO PEAK system for online application. This consolidates resources in one easy-to-use location taking less time and creating a more efficient process.

“We don’t want people to have to make choices between heating their home and buying groceries or paying for critical prescriptions,” Kullen said.

For program eligibility, candidates must pay home heating costs directly to a utility company or landlord as part of their rent, meet the gross income limits, be residents of Colorado and contain at least one U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident of the U.S.

If approved, LEAP payments are usually made directly to the primary heating vendor and a notice is sent to individuals regarding the benefit amount. Last year, approximately 68,000 applications were approved with an average benefit amount of $463.

Other benefits provided by the program include repair or replacement of a home’s primary heating system. To determine the monthly income eligibility according to the household size, visit www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/program-eligibility.

LEAP is a federally funded program that helps Coloradans pay a portion of home heating costs during the winter.

“For those not comfortable with online processes, applications can still be faxed, mailed or delivered to the appropriate county/contractor LEAP office,” said Kullen.

Call 1-866-HEAT-HELP or 1-866-432-8435 for more information.

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